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  • Writer's pictureMarc Pulisci

Countries That Welcome U.S. Travelers Despite COVID-19

This is an article “Countries That Welcome U.S. Travelers Despite COVID-19” by Marc Pulisci

Despite the development of multiple vaccines, travel restrictions everywhere are still far from what they were two years ago. This year, passport holders are still struggling to keep up with the ever-changing guidelines for travel in both local and overseas territories, no thanks to COVID-19 and emerging variants of concern. With over 42 million cases registered in the country, traveling may just be the last thing on everyone's minds right now.

Internationally, some countries have already released lists of territories they can welcome despite having their respective risks. Of course, most travel standards require complete vaccination, or at least negative COVID-19 tests taken within three days before entry to another country. Besides, with some nations requiring tourists or returning residents to undergo a quarantine period, curfew, social distancing, and mask mandates, why even travel for leisure at all? Violating these rules could subject you to costly fines or, worse, land you in prison.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t travel at all this fall. How you enjoy it is up to you, after all. Suppose you’ve decided to proceed with visiting your dream destination. If so, do check with the federal government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites for countries that welcome U.S. travelers. This way, you can steer clear of level 4 destinations wherein COVID-19 is still considered high-risk.

To guide you towards safer travels, here are five countries or territories definitely worth visiting that already welcome American tourists and what you need to know before visiting:

Antigua and Barbuda

This tourist destination in the eastern part of the Caribbean is best known for its scenic bays and historical structures. You are welcome to visit the former British colonies and stay at certified accommodation hotels and inns, while enjoying an accredited number of approved leisure activities for guests. Unless you’re five years-old or younger, you’ll need to present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction test). The test must be taken within four days of your arrival, or less.

Board from the V.C. Bird International Airport, which is open to tourists. Present your vaccination card (at least one dose of an approved World Health Organization (WHO) vaccine) if you are above 18 years-old. After that, be prepared as further testing may be necessary.

Some quarantine time might be imposed according to the government’s Port Health guidelines if you are arriving from the sea. And once you’re done with all the testing and quarantine, always remember to wear a face mask when you’re out and practice social distancing. Failure to do so will result in fines.

Transylvania, Romania

Perfect for Halloween, the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler (or Dracula) exudes the most beauty in the fall. From the historical landmarks in Bucharest to the rich treasures of the National History Museum, there will certainly be no lack in stunning medieval castles and misty moonlit walks along its mysterious, mountainous trails.

Testing is required from your departure or via airline guidelines, and you might be subjected to quarantine in place for 14 days if you’re not vaccinated. However, the period can be reduced to 10 after further testing results are negative. Several areas in Romania are still mildly affected by the pandemic, but visiting this jaw-dropping hotspot is relatively safe. You can check-in at hotels and do some shopping, but be wary of inflated rates from your cab rides to your retail purchases.

Bavaria, Germany

While Germany currently labels the U.S. a high-risk territory, fully-vaccinated visitors are still welcome, provided they undergo testing and quarantine. Make sure you check the validity of your travel insurance and bring a negative PCR test result with you to fast-track the entry process.

One way to make things quicker is by downloading the Corona-Warn-App to your smartphone so you can help with the government’s contact tracing efforts. Local health officials will probably orient you with their DHM method for safety. This formula basically tells you to socially distance for at least 1.5 meters, observe hygiene rules, and wear face masks that range from surgical masks, FFP2, or the better KN95 type.

Bavaria has plenty of wellness resorts and a picturesque countryside for some well-deserved R&R. Kinderland provides that range from three to five-star hotels, hostels, and farms, offering incredible experiences for the whole family. Just make sure you observe proper health protocols as violations can shoot up to €5,000.

Lake District, England

Most of us seek the kind of peace and calm that will make us forget all the stress brought about by the ongoing health crisis. During the fall, no other scenic destination is quite as lovely as Lake District and its national park in Cumbria, northwest England.

Marvel at the soothing rays of the autumn light as its lakes shimmer with the reflection of the adjacent gold and crimson-hued hills. Go on a socially-distant yet spiritual hike in Cumberland’s woodland areas or Grizedale Forest Park, then stop for a cold one at one of the many local ale or cider pubs along the way.

As of October 3, rapid, asymptomatic COVID-19 lateral flow tests twice a week are required for visitors from the U.S. Visitors should also present their CDC cards that show full administration of FDA-approved vaccines and proof of country residency.

Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

Lastly, visitors coming from the U.S. can also discover the many geysers, glaciers, hot springs, and waterfalls that make Thingvellir National Park popular worldwide. For inspiration, watch Heima – a musical documentary from the Icelandic band Sigur Rós - that begins in the summer and leads to the fall, showcasing the breathtaking sights of the region. In Thingvellir, visit the Golden Falls at Gullfoss, deep in the River Hvita, and take snapshots of its 36-foot and 72-foot high cascades.

Fully vaccinated tourists, or those who have fully recovered from COVID-19, are welcome. Still, they must undergo testing before being allowed to roam the UNESCO World Heritage landmark. A negative PCR test result taken within three days prior is required for unvaccinated visitors, as well as a five-day quarantine period.


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